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The Apprentice took on cycling last night - how did it go?

Contestants aim to help bring products from Lumo and Aftershokz to market

Two brands we’ve featured here on road.cc played starring roles in BBC1’s The Apprentice last night as the contestants were handed the task of bringing a product to market with the help of a crowdfunding campaign, a PR stunt and a video, and pitching it to retailers.

Simples, yes? Well, no. As usual a combination of clashing egos, failure to understand the market, well-meant but quite frankly ludicrous ideas and the odd boo-boo – including someone insisting a word was spelt incorrectly just as a website was about to go live (it wasn’t) – made for entertaining if sometimes cringeworthy television.

It all began, of course, with the usual early morning phone call to the Apprentice house, which this year is a £12 million mansion on the Swiss Cottage side of Hampstead. It’s in a quiet street lined with trees (and parked cars). One that presumably will in future be choked with traffic due to Cycle Superhighway 11.

The teams were summoned to the Lea Valley VeloPark in Stratford – once CS11 is built, a journey that can be ridden pretty much all the way on separated infrastructure.

Instead, they were whisked there in a fleet of black people carriers. Disappointingly, show supremo Lord Sugar arrived not on one of his Pinarello bikes, but in his chauffeur driven Bentley.

He set out the task, with the teams choosing one of three products pitched to them by the entrepreneurs behind them. One went for the Lumo Holloway gilet, the other for Aftershokz bone conduction headphones, and they set about discussing how they would execute the task.

Now, there’s a lot you don’t see in The Apprentice. For a start, a task lasting two days is boiled down to around 20 minutes of footage for each team. And then there’s the stuff that’s arranged in advance, and that the contestants don’t have a say in, such as scouting and securing locations.

For example, you’d think you’d try and stage a PR stunt for a product targeting cyclists somewhere you’d be likely to find a lot of them. At a bike café perhaps, or on a busy commuter route such as a Cycle Superhighway?

Well, no. Instead we got Waterloo Station and King’s Cross Station for the respective teams, perhaps a strange choice of venue. Given that to film on railway property you need advance permission, we can forgive the teams on that one (but not for the idea of using a group mime artists to stage a ‘crash’ between a motorist and a cyclist).

We won’t tell you who won – the episode is available to watch for viewers in the UK on BBC iPlayer for the next four weeks – but we will add that since the filming, it seems the Lumo gilet won’t be coming to market after all.

With funding on the company’s own Kickstarter campaign for its London Central range standing at just two thirds of the £30,000 target and just hours to go, Lumo pulled the plug, and subsequently relaunched a campaign just for its Clissold Bomber jacket.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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10 comments

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burtthebike | 7 years ago
4 likes

It's at times like these that the gratefulness meter goes off the scale when I remember I don't have a television.  Not sure it's even good enough for the description "chewing gum for the mind" any more.

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emishi55 replied to burtthebike | 7 years ago
2 likes
burtthebike wrote:

 "chewing gum for the mind" any more. 

 

"chewing gum you discover stuck to the seat of your trousers after sitting on a park bench - for the mind"?

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bendertherobot | 7 years ago
0 likes

We know the Apprentice is entertainment so raging against its pointlessness seems, well, pointless. But when was this filmed? Road.cc had already reviewed the headphones which were on release and Amazon, it seems. Why did they need crowdfunding? The Lumo? Hasn't that already been on there.

And, 24 hour crowd funding, I mean, there has to be a short limit clearly but it's all rendered pointless. 

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handlebarcam | 7 years ago
1 like

Charlie Brooker has already said all that needs to be said about elimination TV shows.

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spacedyemeerkat | 7 years ago
0 likes

Regarding the Aftershokz headphones, does anyone know what they're like to wear with a helmet?

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Veloism replied to spacedyemeerkat | 7 years ago
0 likes
spacedyemeerkat wrote:

Regarding the Aftershokz headphones, does anyone know what they're like to wear with a helmet?

They fit fine with Giro but not quite with Kask. They're OK - if you really want to listen to music on the bike these are the only safe option.

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StantheVoice replied to spacedyemeerkat | 7 years ago
0 likes

spacedyemeerkat wrote:

Regarding the Aftershokz headphones, does anyone know what they're like to wear with a helmet?

 

In the review which is linked in the story above:

http://road.cc/content/review/181970-aftershokz-trekz-titanium-bluetooth...

the reviewer was wearing them with a helmet and didn't mention any issues at all. If there had been, I'm sure he'd have mentioned it.

Hope that helps.

 

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spacedyemeerkat | 7 years ago
1 like

Quite amazing LUMO didn't time its campaign to coincide with the broadcast.

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Lubairner1 replied to spacedyemeerkat | 7 years ago
0 likes
spacedyemeerkat wrote:

Quite amazing LUMO didn't time its campaign to coincide with the broadcast.

we did! http://kck.st/2eCl1gR hard to time the first campaign as we didn't know exactly when it would air.  Lucy 

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Dr_Lex | 7 years ago
3 likes

Not as awful as previous episodes, but still plenty of bellendery on display.

Whenever I despair of one of my work colleagues, I comfort myself with the knowledge that they're an order of magnitude more competant than the candidates here.

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